One day Tyler said that to be a good team we have to be tough. On Friday, March 23 at 4:45 a.m. when most people were sleeping, we, the Gopher tennis team, were departing from the backdoor of BTC I realized how tough we became. Fortunately, none of us were late that morning and even the taxi cabs, which are usually not very punctual, were on time and our trip to Michigan got off to a smooth start.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m.
While most of the team was eating breakfast, Tyler sent us a message saying that the match might be played outside rather than inside as we expected. It was frustrating because the forecast that Sunday morning didn't promise anything good: it was drizzling from the very early morning almost without any breaks. Disregarding the weather conditions we headed to the MSU's outside courts. When we arrived there, we saw tennis staff was drying courts. The match was delayed and we didn’t know when it would start. The indoor football field appeared to be a good place to pass the time until the match got started so most of our team was there resting/sleeping before the "battle".
An hour later it was decided that the match would be played inside and Gophers, a bit tired but ready to fight, picked up their stuff again and headed to the indoor tennis facility.
The match against MSU started with us winning doubles point that definitely put us ahead and gave more confidence. Though we didn't feel a lack of belief in ourselves, all singles (except Lex's) started kind of slow and most of us were down in score at the beginning. However, none of us gave up and we showed a real fight and desire to outcompete our opponents. Minnesota beat MSU 5-2 to earn its 12th win of the season.
Sunday, whatever time it was
Ann Arbor welcomed us with beautiful and sunny weather so the match was played outside. From the very beginning Wolverines took a lead in doubles and continued pressuring the Gophers all the way until they clinched the overall win. Though Lex and D were close in the last doubles match to earn point for the Gophers, Michigan held on its lead.
After missed opportunity to win doubles point, the Gophers didn't seem to be lost or upset and stepped up on courts ready to fight for every single point. And we were fighting with all our hearts. Even though some scores might be viewed as easy wins, I know that, in fact, we all put our best intensity to do everything we could have done in order to with the match. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and Minnesota lost 6-1. The only match we won was Julia's battle in which she won 10-8 in super tiebreaker instead of third set.
Do you know when Tyler Thomson celebrates his birthday? I bet you don't because his birthday now is on 24th of March. So, at dinner on Saturday one of us (no need to say the name) told a waiter that out coach had birthday. As a special treat for a person who has birthday the restaurant provided us with a desert which we presented to Tyler along with "Happy Birthday" song. Happy Birthday, Tyler!
As humans we experience not only happiness, but also sadness. This weekend homesickness became more vivid as it usually is. As you know, half of our team is internationals, and the rest is Americans who are also quite far away from their homes. So, we all miss our families. Sometimes, as it was this weekend, this "loneliness" becomes stronger and we need to take rid of our emotions. That was what this weekend was for. I believe, that after such shares of emotions and concerns we become stronger and closer team that is ready to move forward together and accomplish even more than we've done so far. So, keep it up Gophers!
One more thing that stood out for me this weekend is our post-match conversation about gratitude. Just like Tyler stated it, "The more mature a person, the more grateful he (or she) is for both big and little things in his (or her) life." In my opinion, the girls in our team do a really good job being appreciative of each other and being thankful for things happened on the court and out of the court. In support of this statement I'd like to express our thankfulness to the people who are with us no matter what is going on: our parents, our friends, our coaches, and, of course, those who cheer for and support Gopher women’s tennis.